The 2020 ICF global coaching study reported that 90% of coaches surveyed offer services beyond coaching in their business. And I’m not surprised. Many of my clients enjoy offering additional services and resources because they’re always looking for ways to add value.
Sometimes, coaches decide to “add on” because they see a need and want to fill it. But too often, they jump to create new services in response to the belief that doing more will lead to more money. That can be true, but it isn’t always.
In my experience, the most successful coaching businesses provide services that dovetail perfectly with each other. How do you know if your new offering is in alignment with your primary business goals? Ask the following questions.
Do These New Offerings Serve the Same Ideal Client?
The clearer you can be about who you’re targeting, and the more consistently you can hold to that clarity, the better you’ll do. If you’ve been offering one-on-one coaching to C-Suite executives and want to expand your business, it’s far more easeful and compelling to provide additional services you know they want and need.
You will also leverage your time and energy by offering services to clients you already serve. For example, in addition to working individually with executives, you might provide leadership development and 360 leadership assessments. In this instance, the ideal client for both services is essentially the same. You help individual leaders and groups of leaders who work together.
Additionally, these services leverage each other beautifully. After all, you can try to fix the individual, but those one-on-ones won’t catapult them forward if they’re working in a broken system.
Do These Services Address the Same or Similar Problems?
Over the years, I’ve worked with many consultants who decide that they also want to coach. For some people, the pivot is seamless. For others, not so much.
If you’re a marketing consultant, convincing a client who’s hired you to do PR that they also need one-on-one coaching could be a difficult sell. Why? Because the new offering has little or nothing to do with the original problem they brought you in to solve.
Even if you decide that you want to start coaching PR executives through challenging change initiatives – which may seem similar from a messaging standpoint – you can’t leverage one service off the other because the problems they solve really aren’t correlated.
Your services should dovetail together so that you’re not just offering coaching in addition to consulting, but you’re doing both simultaneously. My clients who do this well get exponential results with little extra effort because each offer supports the next.
Is the Messaging For These Services Clear and Compelling?
If you jam a bunch of services together that don’t build upon each other, you’ll end up with jumbled messaging that doesn’t attract people.
Take the time to discover your services “sweet spot” – where your passion, aptitude, and ability overlap with your client’s needs – and creating clear messaging will be easy.
But clarity, while crucial, will only get you so far. You may be one of a hundred coaches offering “executive development and leadership coaching,” but the only one who “helps teams experiencing rapid change uplevel their communication so they can hit their substantial revenue targets.”
Potential clients want to know how your approach is different from everyone who looks like you on paper. And they want to know about outcomes. Your messaging should describe a transformational experience that solves an essential problem. Remember, people won’t hire you if what you’re selling is a “nice-to-have.”
Are Your Clients Leaning In When You Talk About These Services?
If you’re determined to expand your services, but you’re unsure whether they dovetail with your primary business purpose, talk to people. Describe what you’re planning and pay attention to when they’re leaning in and when they look disengaged or even confused.
Ultimately, if challenges or desires don’t overlap or your offerings serve different clients, you’ll waste a lot of time, energy, and resources. Can you run two totally separate businesses? Sure, you can. But it’s a whole lot harder than running one.
If you’re considering expanding your services, take some time to meditate on these questions. Share your thoughts with others (including me!) and see how they respond.
Tara Butler Floch